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The Importance of Moisture in Dog Food

Howard Calvert


Howard Calvert
Howard Calvert

Howard Calvert

Content Writer

Aside from Dog Food Advisor, Howard has written for a range of newspapers, magazines, and websites on topics including how to pole vault, what it’s like to leap around a giant human pinball machine, and the experience of running 100 miles round Mont Blanc.

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Updated: June 5, 2024

Verified by Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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Laura Ward

Pop quiz: name something we all need to survive, dogs and humans alike.

If water was one of your answers, you can congratulate yourself with an ice-cold glass of the clear stuff (while giving yourself a hearty pat on the back for hydrating adequately).

But how often do you consider whether your canine companion is getting enough liquid in their diet?

You may ensure their water bowl is regularly topped up, but if you’re feeding them dry dog food, they may be missing out on some essential moisture input, especially if you’re unaware of the importance of moisture in dog food.

Why moisture is important for dogs

Dogs require water every day for their bodies to function. This is to help everything from blood flow and heart health to digestion and waste removal, as well as aiding in their body’s temperature control. 

If they don’t get enough water, their body will draw on water from the organs, which compromises their functionality, and if it occurs over a long period can potentially lead to health issues.  

How much water does my dog require?

Depending on the breed, dogs can require anything from 200ml to 3 liters of water per day. Most dogs get this from their water bowl, but if they’re fed exclusively dry food you may notice them lapping up more than their required amount to make up for moisture they might be missing out on from their food.

A dog’s natural, wild diet would comprise meat, organs, bones and vegetables, and this contains about 70% water. Dry food in general comprises around 10% water but can be as low as 6%, so is significantly less than what would be found in what’s considered a dog’s ‘natural’ diet.

You can boost your dog’s moisture intake in a number of ways. If they eat kibble, you can add water to the bowl, provide them with bone broth or dog drinks, or increase the amount of fresh fruit or vegetables in their diet.

One easy solution many pet parents make is to switch the dry food for wet or raw dog food, as it contains more moisture than dry food. 

What are the benefits of boosting moisture in your dog’s diet?

Irene Gunawan, Director of R&D at Open Farm, explains the benefits of making the switch to moisture-rich wet dog food and how it can help your dog’s overall health. 

Improved hydration

Moisture-rich foods, such as wet dog food or fresh food, help ensure dogs stay adequately hydrated, which is crucial for their overall health. 

“Proper hydration supports bodily functions, including digestion, circulation, and temperature regulation,” she says.

Better digestion

“Dogs that eat wet or moist food generally have better digestion,” Gunawan says. “The added moisture helps reduce the risk of gastrointestinal issues such as constipation or bloating while promoting a healthy digestive tract.” 

This is because the added moisture helps soften the food, making it easier for your dog to break down and absorb those all-important nutrients.

Enhanced palatability 

Gunawen stresses the importance of palatability in a dog’s diet. “Moist foods often offer a richer taste and aroma than dry food.” This can encourage the more shall we say ‘discerning’ eaters to consume their meals more readily, ensuring they receive all the nutrients they require.

Aids weight management

“Adding wet food to a dog’s diet can help your dog in terms of managing their weight as these foods are typically lower in calorie density than kibble, helping dogs feel full and satisfied without overeating,” adds Gunawen.

Supports urinary health

Finally, Gunawan says that increasing your dog’s moisture intake from wet foods can be especially beneficial for dogs prone to urinary issues, as it helps dilute urine, reducing the risk of urinary tract infections and the formation of urinary crystals or stones. 

How to boost your dog’s moisture input

One quick and simple way to increase your dog’s water intake is to take a look at their food. If you’re feeding them a kibble-only diet, it’s worth thinking about changing at least one meal a day to raw or wet food

Raw or wet food can contain 70-80% moisture, so is a great way to quickly and easily add moisture to your dog’s diet. For example, Open Farm’s Pâté range of wet food contains 78% moisture.

By adding moisture via your dog’s food, you’ll ensure they’re consuming enough water every day to remain hydrated with enhanced digestion while receiving the nutrients they require.

Article reviewed by
Laura Ward

Pet Nutritionist

Laura studied BSc (Hons) Animal Science with an accreditation in Nutrition at the University of Nottingham, before working for eight years in the pet food and nutrition industry.

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